NOBODY in Akwuorji, Ezeogwu, Awo-Idemili community, Orsu local council area of Imo State, had an inkling that tragedy was lurking around the corner last week. Not even Mr. and Mrs. Monday Ndemezeka knew what was awaiting them on that fateful day. They woke up as usual and did all they used to do, including sending their children to school and bringing them back.
For this particular day, it turned out to be a different day, indeed, a mournful and indelible day. It was a day the Ndemezeka sadly lost three of their children, a boy and two daughters!
A story that made the rounds in the community was that the children’s father, Monday, who mends electric generating sets at Afor Awo Market, close to Imo Transport Company, ITC, park, in the community, was the one that he brought them back from school, locked them up in the house and left for his workshop.
“It was a passerby that noticed a thick smoke oozing from the building where these children were locked in and drew neighbours attention to it. What compounded the children’s predicament was that the building has a perimeter fence and a strong iron gate”, a villager told South East Voice.
It was also gathered that some sympathizers who managed to find their way into the premises, faced another hurdle; the windows were secured with strong iron protectors! Continuing, the villager said that the sympathizers started pouring water into the room where the children gathered.
“This did not do the required magic, as the three children were burnt beyond recognition. Confusion reigned. Uncontrollable weeping, especially from women, became the order of the day, as the charred bodies of the unfortunate children were scooped from a corner of the room”, the villager recounted with grief.
At press time, nobody could say with certainty, what caused the fire. While a group suspected that it may have been caused by the children themselves, others simply blamed it on foul play. The villager gave the names of the dead children as Tobechukwu (6), Mmerichukwu (4) and Somtoochukwu (2).
Efforts made to get any of the parents of the deceased children to talk, failed. The mournful and distressful looks on their faces, even made it more difficult for South East Voice to press for an interview. South East Voice recalls that a similar incident occurred in the same community a few months ago. A tricycle operator lost two of his children in a raging fire that razed their rented apartment.
Although the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Andrew Enwerem, could not be reached on his mobile line before going to press, however, a policeman serving in the area, confirmed the incident, on strict condition of anonymity.